The recent PGA tour stop at Aronimink Golf Club in Newton Square, PA sparked an interesting dialog concerning older golf courses in the United States. Many individuals feel that these older courses are obsolete and should not be used for the modern golf tournament venue. Their argument basically rests in the parking arrangements for older courses. When the courses were developed they were out in the boondocks, now urban development has enveloped the course in a tight but limited access.
Personally, I would like to see these older courses put back into play on a rotational basis. An excellent example of these older courses is how the architects guard par. Even today with the modern arsenal of clubs, par is a premium at these older courses. Imagine how accessible these courses would be to a great portion of the population that cannot drive to some distant location to view a tournament.
For the past few years I have been playing, when invited to play, my grandfathers golf courses. I can say that these older courses are no cakewalk. Emphasis is placed on accuracy as well as length and putting. It is not easy to score on AHF’s designs. Take for example the Llanerch Country Club in Havertown, PA. It hosted the 1958 PGA championship won by Dow Finsterwald. Recently it hosted the Pennsylvania Amateur championship. Only 5 players were able to attack par or better it. This course is nearly 90 years of age, it should be a push-over. There are some wonderful holes there, my favorite is the par 3, 17th. A world class par 3. At any rate give these old courses a try, you will be amazed at how difficult they are in the 21st century.
A future page of early American Golf courses is presently being developed. Input welcomed. More to come.